The Realities of Home Ownership

Posted April 1st, 2010
by Staff (no comments)

Most folks assume that owning a home is better than renting, for a variety of reasons. In some ways and for many folks, this is certainly true. In general, a home is going to appreciate – that is, it’s going to increase in value over time. You can’t say that about an apartment. In addition, the money you pay for your mortgage each month goes toward purchasing the home (at least, the part of the mortgage that isn’t set aside to pay the interest). So you’re making an investment, rather than paying for the privilege of living somewhere.

Still, many new home owners are surprised by the changes that come with home ownership. Along with the upside to owning your home, there are some specific sorts of things you need to deal with.

You’re the super

The first thing that often strikes folks in their first home is how often a home needs maintenance. When you live in an apartment, if your toilet needs to be snaked or if you have a leaky faucet, you call the landlord, superintendant or building maintenance department. When you’re the homeowner, you are all of those things. You need to figure out how to fix the faucet, or you need to call a plumber and pay him to fix it. Either way, it’s more complex than just calling your landlord.

On a positive note, it means you don’t ever have to wait around for your landlord. You can fix that leaky faucet on your own timeframe.

Utilities are expensive

So, you bought a beautiful, 100 year-old farm house out in the country along with 10 acres to play on. That’s wonderful. Then, you get your first electric or gas bill and you almost feint. That house may have character, but it also has had 100 years to settle, to develop small leaks where heat can get out, and probably has some really inefficient energy management.

In addition, you’re going to pay more for utilities in a house because it’s going to be bigger than an apartment. There are more lights to leave on, and more rooms to heat or cool. Even your homeowners insurance will be more expensive than your renters insurance.

Yard work is hard work

You may have dreamed of having a flower garden, and now you do. Unfortunately, you’re surprised by just how much work it takes to keep it up. In addition, two acres may not look like a lot of land, but when you’re trying to mow it with a push mower, You’re talking about a 10 to 12-hour project. Yard work, sadly, is par for the course with home ownership.

Is home ownership worth it? Sure. You just need to think long and hard about what you’re getting into so that you’re not surprised in those first few weeks and months.

Photo via SolYoung

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